We’re going to dive deeper than usual into the tech rabbit hole today to talk about containers.

In the last few years, software developers have started to make use of a new software platform called the container. A container is a new way of packaging applications to work on any type of server operating system.

Let’s say you’ve just created a new website. In the past, development would be only the first part of the process. You’d also have to choose an operating system for your host server, and you’d have to install supporting software, which would be different for each type of host server. For example, you might use ASP.NET on Microsoft server, or Nginx on a Linux server.

Containers make the deployment process simpler. Instead of worrying about whether your application will run on a Windows or Linux server, you can package it with all of the supporting software and information it needs, then run it on any OS that supports containers.

Up until now, different companies have been publishing this container software in different ways. As you might guess, if the point of containers is to provide one unified way to publish applications, but everyone is doing it differently, that makes containers pretty pointless. Now, however, companies from Microsoft to Google to the Linux Foundation, along with key early container companies like Docker and CoreOS, have agreed to work on a single open standard for containers, to be run by the Open Container Project.

It looks like containers are moving full steam ahead!

For more reading, check out this short explanation of containers by Docker, arguably the biggest container popularizer, or this longer one by a Red Hat employee.

By Sharon Campbell